The Osprey were at least an hour into their morning hunt when we backed Ginger Lee out of the slip. It’s not the crack of dawn, but pretty darn early. Judging by the lack of recreational fishermen, I’m guessing it’s a weekday. Only two guys in their skiff disturb the glass of the Upper Pond. Hiding behind a thin veneer of milky white clouds, the summer sun is well free of the horizon. “It may burn through,” I say hopefully aloud, squinting at the bright, opaque sky.
The marine forecast calls for three footers in the Rhode Island Sound; not so bad; we won’t be in it very long. The plan is to loop around Point Judith and head north up Narragansett Bay via the West Passage. It sounds simple enough, but the waves will be at an uncomfortable angle for about thirty minutes until we make that northerly turn, then they will push us smartly along at a good ten MPH.
I’ve never been to Wickford Harbor. I don’t know what to expect. It’s very exciting. My favorite cruising guide, Active Captain, says the town has four or five “first-come-first-serve” moorings just inside the breakwater. We hope to grab one, but just in case they’re all taken, we need a plan B. I call the Wickford Shipyard to arrange dockage.
“No need to make a reservation, I got plenty of room. Just pull up to the fuel dock and we’ll take care of ya,” the friendly dockmaster explained.
After about an hour and a half, we cruise through the Wickford Harbor Breakwater and apprehensively look to our left for an empty mooring.
“There’s one right over there,” the XO points.
“Saweet! Looks like the only one left!” Yee ha! We’re here!
Right after breakfast we get a visit from the Harbormaster. Nice guy, friendly, talkative, and knowledgable about all the attractions. He explained the moorings used to be free, but the locals kept using them like their own personal property; there would never be any for visitors as they were intended. Charging money stopped the misuse.
“Never mind the three-day maximum. Stay as long as you like.” he says with happy smile.
“You gotta love a job you can do in your bare feet,” the XO quips.